DNDi Receives $15M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

DNDi Receives $15M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
[GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, November 20, 2009]
The grant will advance development of a promising new medicine against sleeping sickness
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has received a USD 15 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to undertake clinical development of a new medicine to treat human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, a fatal disease that threatens 60 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The grant to be disbursed to DNDi over five years, will provide critical funding for the development of fexinidazole, currently the only new drug candidate in clinical development for sleeping sickness.

"The fexinidazole project, conducted in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company, sanofi-aventis, is a very promising scientific project. DNDi was created in 2003 to develop a new generation of drugs adapted to the needs of patients affected by neglected diseases. Fexinidazole is the first new drug candidate to be developed by DNDi all the way from discovery into clinical development" states Dr. Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi.

Through more than two years of investigation on the different compounds of the nitroimidazoles family, DNDi has confirmed that one of these compounds, fexinidazole, is a promising drug candidate against sleeping sickness. Fexinidazole is an antiprotozoal compound that could be used orally and could allow for a much simpler treatment schedule than existing treatments. DNDi successfully conducted preclinical development of fexinidazole in 2007 and 2008. Fexinidazole entered phase I trials in September 2009.